I began to make these pictures in 1985, while I was in high school. The process of photographing my family and their hometown community in rural Illinois grew throughout my adult life. Until about 1997, my pictures were known only to family, friends, and classmates. By the time I was age 29, my pictures were on display in New York museums, and my first book was due to be released. I have now been documenting the same people in Galesburg, Illinois now for thirty years, where three generations of my family have lived since 1900. Each person you see here has been in my life for a very long time, and my commitment to our relationship is forever, for good times and bad times, for all the future. My family accepted my plan to follow their lives with my camera. I am honored that they still encourage me to this day. It continues to be my aim to make honest pictures of my family and friends--pictures that show true stories that anyone can understand.
Chris Verene is Assistant Professor of Photography at the College of Staten Island.